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Airscanner warns of Pocket Internet Explorer security flaws
Posted on 27-Jan-2005 10:45. | Tags Filed under: News.

Security firm Airscanner released information about several weaknesses in Pocket Internet Explorer, the standard web browser that comes pre-installed on Windows Mobile Pocket PC and Smartphone devices.

These flaws can be used together to trick end users into submitting local and/or sensitive data, such as usernames and passwords. The potential for exploiting these vulnerabilities are restricted only by an attacker’s imagination. The research firm says that Pocket Internet Explorer is not as powerful as its big brother Internet Explorer, and as such, an attacker is limited in what techniques can be used to launch an attack.

For example, Pocket Internet Explorer has no support for the iframe tag, which is extremely useful in XSS and browser-based attacks. In addition, Pocket Internet Explorer does not support every JavaScript command commonly used by attackers. The company has released detailed information about these flaws and give an example that combines these individual flaws into one attack, as a proof of concept. The example will only work on a Windows Mobile Pocket PC.

The flaws involve Unicode URL obfuscation, access to local files, and <div> XSS tag. The most important is the first one, since this can mislead users to believe they are accessing a website when in fact the browser is being redirected to the attacker's domain. Local file access is not quite a flaw, since all browsers can read local files, but when combined with the Unicode URL obfuscation and the <div> XSS tag a script can be written that potentially can collect personal information.

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